April 12, 2009

San Francisco Dash: Coda

Check out the series
Prelude: Trip preparation
Part 1: Vancouver to Medford
Part 2: Medford to San Francisco via Shasta-Trinity Forest
Part 3: San Francisco to Medford via Klamath Falls
Part 4: Medford to Vancouver
Coda: Conclusions to a great spring trip

Did I have a good trip? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Not in March. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I made the trip and it was the sort of thing that is great to do once. Now having that 'once' behind me I'd like to do it without snow next time. The heated jacket worked like a dream and I was rarely cold, but the chill does get to you eventually. What I found the most difficult to deal with was how the cold tightened the muscles, which then had to hold up my head for 13 hours of riding at 120kph. Let's just say my back was a bit 'tight' for a few days after. There was lots of good from the trip and here's a sample:

Most beautiful sight: Sunrise breaking through the Cascade mountains and into the valley between Medford and Ashland
Most interesting sight: San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge as it passes through Yerba Buena Island, at sunset, with downtown in the background.
Best Rides: Callahan to Weaverville (110km), Rosewood to Red Bluff (40km), Dunnigan to Allendale (60km), Burney to Canby (120km)
Highest elevation: 5,300ft
Warmest temperature: +24
Coldest Temperature: -2
Friendliest person: Rest stop attendant in Willows California
Biggest surprise: I didn't see any wildlife on the whole trip except for vultures and squirrels (maybe a chipmunk)

The trip taught me a lot about riding long distances. With two of the days a hair away from 1,000km (I was tempted to ride around the block twice to break a grand on the first day) I'm now much more confident with hours in the saddle. Most of this is mental, and learning how to remain focused and direct your thoughts in productive ways. Like a meditation where you're focused on the intensity of every moment. Take breaks, stay nourished, and keeping the speed consistent are some of the easy to share lessons.

An early morning silhouette.

Finally, I got to see parts of the the country that I never would have, perhaps ever, had I not embarked on this journey. There's something about touring on a bike that tempts one to take the roads less traveled and longest way around. Bikes throw everything at you the environment has to offer, amplified by speed and adrenaline for every sense to consume. It's amazing how often these moments become indelible parts of experienced memory. Unforgettable moments so densely packed only the promise of what's around the next mountain might have the key to sorting it all out.

1 comment:

jaime said...

Great photographic eye.
The best motorcycle photos I´vv seen.